The past three months, I’ve been testing the amazing waters of the pay as you go cell phone. That means I’ve chucked the smartphone and gone back to the two device life (remember that? Back in 2004 some people carried a palm pilot AND a cell phone!)
After 2 months I saved enough to pay my Early Termination Fee and really start saving money. As a side effect, I have learned to break free from my cell phone and I want to offer a few tips to you that will help you out, even if you don’t want to part from your smartphone.
Turn off push notifications
This one helped me out a ton. With my job, there are certain things that happen at the same time every day. When my email would BING every day at 10:20 p.m., I knew what that meant and I would immediately take a little brainpower away from whatever I was doing and give some to work. You don’t know how much you are devoted to the BING of new mail until you break up with it. And then…
Don’t read your email when you aren’t ready to focus on it
The best example of this used to happen in every line I had to wait in. I’m going to be here for at least 45 seconds, I might as well check my email. That might be fine if your email isn’t any more important than a tabloid headline, but what happens if you see something important. What happens if it’s bad news from your boss about something you messed up royally and he wants to talk about at 8:00 a.m. and not a second later? You just ruined a perfectly calm trip to the grocery store. You just interrupted dinner or playtime with your kids by inviting your co-workers into your living room.
Find a way to deal with your email, and only deal with it then. If they needed you immediately, they would have called or txted you. If it’s an email, it can wait.
Turn the ringer off, as in really off
It used to be that only doctors carried pagers, so they would be the only people interrupted in the middle of their activities. Now, it’s too common to sit with a friend during lunch and have them constantly interrupted by all of the other people that didn’t go to the trouble of taking them out to lunch! I’m not talking about switching to vibrate here, I’m talking about shutting the thing up altogether. The vibration might not interrupt everyone else in a meeting, but it will interrupt the one getting vibrated. Unless your wife is 8.9 months pregnant, (it used to be cool to be an expecting dad with a pager, right?) you owe it to the people around you to have at least 20 minutes of undivided focus. It will change the way you work, think, and love. It really will.